what is discovery?
In our last couple of blogs, we have discussed the attorney/client relationship and steps that are typically taken while your case is pending. This week's blog will address an important part of your case, known as "discovery".
While much of the information needed to properly prepare for trial is already in your possession, some of the information must be obtained from other sources. Your attorney can send the opposing party requests for information. The opposing party is required to submit complete responses within 30 days after receipt of the request.
The most common requests for information from the opposing party are written Interrogatories, Request for Production and Request for Disclosure. Interrogatories are written questions about matters pertinent to the case, which the opposing party is required to answer under oath, subject to penalty of perjury. A Request for Production lists pertinent documents and other items that the opposing party is required to copy and produce. A Request for Disclosure requests basic information such as names of witnesses, a basic summary of the legal and factual basis of the case, and the conclusions of any expert witnesses.
A party is entitled to schedule a meeting, known as a deposition, in which a witness testifies in answer to questions asked by lawyers representing each side. A court reporter is present and records the testimony for later use in Court. The answers are sworn under oath subject to penalty of perjury. A deposition can also be videotaped, and in some circumstances can be completed by telephone.
obtaining information from third parties
Often, information that is useful for the trial is not in the possession of the opposing party, but in the possession of a third party, such as a bank or a school. The business records can be required to be produced by the issuance of a subpoena.
Significant information can be obtained informally, which carries the benefit of possibly surprising the opposing party. For example, private investigators are sometimes used to investigate and learn information about the case. At trial, the private investigator can testify about the events observed. Also, a lawyer can interview people who have knowledge about important events, and then have these witnesses testify at trial.
If you're involved in litigation, discovery can be an important tool for trial preparation, and will maximize your chances of success. The attorneys at Christiansen Law Firm have extensive litigation experience, and have successfully completed discovery in many cases, using this tool to secure favorable outcomes at trial. The family law attorneys at Christiansen Law Firm can assist you in obtaining all of the available information that will help you win your case. Contact Christiansen Law Firm for additional information about your case.